Zen Restaurant excels in Pan-Asian cuisine. We had the enviable opportunity of sampling multiple dishes from the Zen Restaurant menu. Zen has a soothing ambiance with soft mood lighting and dark woods. Tables and booths are placed so that the diner has the choice whether to be more secluded or to sit more in the open. Our server Ching was marvelous, as was our dining experience. She had fantastic recommendations and was passionate about the food and the restaurant. Everyone who worked here was friendly, informative, and attentive. Everyone is passionate about the food, and your taste buds can tell.
Our evening started out with the pairing of Sushi and Sake. The Sushi Chef brought an array of Sushi to satisfy any Sushi enthusiast’s desire. We were given the ChampionsGate Roll; Cucumber Sashimi Roll with Tuna; the Red Dragon Roll; Tuna, Salmon, and Yellow Tail. The three Sakes paired perfectly with the Sushi. The three Sakes were cold and smooth and the notes of each ranged from banana and creamy, earthy to tropical. The three Sakes, Takeuchi Shuzo, Junmai, Nigori, “Hiko’s Milky”; Kanbara, Junmai Ginjo, “Bride of the Fox”; and Gekkeikan, Junmai Daiginjo, “Horin” were imported from Japan. As recommended by our server Ching, we also sampled two imported Japanese Beers that were exceptional: the Hitachino Nest, White Ale and Hitachino Nest, Ginger Brew. The choice Sushi consisted of Tuna, Salmon, and Yellowtail. The Cucumber Sashimi Roll with Tuna was refreshing. The ChampionsGate Roll pleases with Seared Escolar, Tamago, Avocado, Teriyaki, Wasabi Ponzu, Spicy Mayo, and Torched Escolar giving it that “smoky” taste. The Red Dragon Roll also pleases with the Crunchy Shrimp Tempura, Cream Cheese, Spicy Tuna, Red Tobiko, and Unagi Sauce. All three rolls create a visual charm as well. The Sushi and Sake combination was creative and well paired, assembling a mixture of delightful Sakes with incredible Sushi. The Sushi at Zen Restaurant captivates.
For Starters, we sampled the Hunan Dumplings with Peanut Sauce, Chinese Style Spare Ribs, and the Salt and Pepper Calamari. The Chinese Style Spare Ribs were aromatic with Anise, Cloves, and more. The meat melted right off of the bone and into your mouth. The Hunan Pork Dumplings sat on a bed of Peanut Sauce and were scrumptious. The Salt and Pepper Calamari had a nice savory kick.
The Entrées followed and we sampled numerous dishes. We experienced the Crispy Aromatic Szechwan Duck with Crepes, Spring Onion and Cucumbers; Sea Bass with Shiitake Mushrooms, Scallions, Ginger, and Crispy Thin Wontons , Kung Pao Chicken with Peanuts and Celery; Szechwan Style Beef Tenderloin with Bell Peppers, Lobster in Ginger Sauce, and Fried Rice made with Green Tea and Bacon. The Crispy Aromatic Szechwan Duck was brought to the table and shredded. Placing the Duck inside of the Crepes with Cucumber, Spring Onion, and Hoisin Sauce, this dish a star. The Sea Bass also stood out from the rest, with the exceptional composition of tender, melt-in-your-mouth Sea Bass on a bed of Shiitake Mushrooms, Scallions, and Ginger. This contrasted well with the texture of Crispy Thin Wontons sprinkled on the top. The Kung Pao Chicken was a tasty sensation dazzled by crunchy peanuts. The Szechwan Style Beef Tenderloin with Bell Peppers was fixating and also easily a favorite. The Lobster in Ginger Sauce had a refined taste, while the Fried Rice made with Green Tea and Bacon was both creative and thoroughly enjoyable.
For Dessert, we were provided with White Chocolate and Green Tea Mousse Cake with a side of Cherries dipped in Sake topped with a Dehydrated Pineapple Slice; Chocolate Gelato with a Caramelized Banana, Cocoa Nibs, and Dulce de Leche; Carrot Cake (a family recipe of Chef Robert Ash); Chocolate Lava Cake accompanied with melted Chocolate Fudge, and Chocolate Dipped Fortune Cookies. Each dessert was inventive and euphoric, and left one wanting more.
It’s times like these that your taste buds are so thankful. You can’t stop eating because each dish is so incredible. It felt like this with every dish that we tried at Zen Restaurant. Chef Xiong Tang puts his everything into his food with passion and dedication, and that makes Zen Restaurant outstanding. Thank you Zen Restaurant. Our taste buds were remarkably spoiled and we must return. The menu is brimming with what one’s palate may have been missing for so long, or perhaps what one’s palate has never known. Make sure to book your evening with Zen Restaurant soon. Thank you for hosting us.